Government decision to give 10% job quota to economically weaker sections will fundamentally alter the options available to millions of candidates in general category, who will enjoy relaxations in terms of age limit and number of attempts to apply for government jobs, including prestigious and highly coveted civil services.
Once the new quota comes into effect, job aspirants from general category could enjoy similar relaxations given to OBC candidates. The OBC candidates currently have an upper age limit of 35 years and nine attempts to crack civil services examination while candidates from general category have an age limit of 32 years and are allowed only six attempts. For SC/ST candidates, upper age limit is 37 years and there is no limit on the number of attempts.
As per the initial indications, the government is set to follow the rules applicable to other backward class candidates. The proposal cleared by the union cabinet that cleared a constitutional amendment bill on 7th January as an enabling provision referred to an annual household income of up to Rs. 8 lakh for determining the economic backwardness of a candidate from general category. This is exactly the same for determining the creamy layer for other socially and educationally backward class (OBC) candidates.
The government is likely to follow the same set of parameters for economically weaker sections (general category candidates) as are being followed for other socially and educationally backward classes (OBC candidates not falling in creamy layer category), otherwise there could be legal issues. Article 14, 15 and 16 of Indian Constitution prohibit the State from discriminating among citizens on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and also ensure equality before law and equality in matters of public employment.